These are the sort of vacations that the girls will have fond memories of when they look back on their childhoods: a house full of family, meals eaten outside. This is a 70th birthday to remember – surrounded by family, a surprise Hawaiian dinner cooked by a son and a birthday cake baked in Seattle and transported 100 miles by car and ferry. Deer wandered into our backyard in the evenings and we saw the full spectrum of stars at night.
Orcas Island was the first island I visited in the San Juans and it’s still magical 21 years later. It remains one of my favorite places on earth.
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Looks like we escaped that crazy, record breaking rainstorm on Long Island just in time. We were watching the weather all day, wondering if our flight would get delayed, but it was on time and we even flew in 45 minutes early, missing the storm on the East Coast by a few hours. I feel like we’ve had some good weather karma this summer, escaping rain on market days when it’s been in the forecast.
The days here in Washington so far have been drizzly and cool. We come in August because it’s usually a guarantee of the best weather of the year. The sun usually shines and the temps are warm but dry, and it feels like an escape from the humidity back home. This summer in NY, however, have been unusual in that we barely hit above 85 degrees and for the most part, wasn’t as humid as you would expect when you conjure up images of hazy East Coast summers. The weather this summer has been spectacular, in fact. The grayness here so far has been fine – typical of weather here year round and it reminds me of the days when I lived here. I think about our vaguely loose plan of moving back here in 20 or so years – you know, when we’re ready to retire or whatever that means, and whether I can truly get used to the damp and the gray again. I get cold easily. But it feels good right now, wrapping a jacket and a sweater when we’re out in the mornings and putting on socks for what seems like the first time in weeks.
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Hard to believe this is NYC, but it is. Wave Hill has been on our list of places to visit for years, but we only got around to it this summer a few weekends ago. It might very well be one of my favorite places in the city now. The various gardens are beautiful, but I love that there are so many things to look at – in the cracks along the stone walls, in the archways, and in the many little pots that house succulents and plants that I’ve never even seen before. It’s peaceful here and I’ve been seeking out places of refuge in the city this summer just to think.
We’re going to spend a week on a small island in the Pacific Northwest soon. Looking forward to staring out at that ocean, and looking up and seeing stars.
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This has been a summer of loss. Another member of our family passed away yesterday – a woman who I grew fond of and who ironically, grew closer to our family by reading this blog. She used to comment here regularly up until recently when she became ill and would email wondering if I was ok when I didn’t post everyday. After it was clear that she wasn’t up to traveling to Washington this summer as she did every summer where we’d meet, we talked about meeting up in Hawaii instead next summer where she lived. I thought about her yesterday when I read that Hawaii was bracing itself for 2 hurricanes, but I didn’t expect this bit of news quite yet. Marie, I’m sorry that we won’t have a chance to meet up next summer as we talked about in our emails.
My side of the family had been spared the devastation of loss up until my brother died. In that respect we’ve been fortunate, but I think it’s also why my brother’s death was so profound. Everyone felt the shock of it during our memorial at the cemetery when our whole entire family gathered for our first funeral. We have a family plot reserved for several members of our family, but nobody expected that the first name to be etched on a grave would be one of the youngest, or that our 92 year old grandmother would survive her grandchild.
In a lot of ways the last 2 weeks have been harder than the 2 months following the initial shock. That’s why I embraced office life this summer even though the idea of working in one would have been a deal breaker for me in the past. I don’t really think about things other than the work when I’m there, but when I’m home, I often find myself just staring into space. I know my mom feels the same way. Certain days just catch you off guard though, and I found myself crying on the subway Monday morning on the way to the doctor’s office rather randomly. But…I thought I was starting to move past all this? But no. When you live through a tragic and traumatic death, there really is no easy way to move past anything.
A friend of mine recently asked me if I felt like an only child now. My answer was yes, I do.
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Can a bag change your life? Seems silly, but at the moment, I feel like this Madewell tote has. (by the way, this post is neither sponsored, nor was the bag comped. Sometimes I feel like you need to clarify these things these days). ANYWAY. Some things about working in an office have changed since the last time I worked in one, which was a 6 week gig when I was 7 months pregnant with C. For one, everyone carries their laptop to the office every day where I’ve been working and I found myself lugging mine around without an appropriately sized bag to carry my computer in. I was using various cheap canvas totes everyday when I started looking for a sturdier bag. Aside from the fact that is was big enough to hold a laptop, I wasn’t totally convinced that this leather tote would be the answer when I bought it. It was a bit of a splurge, but I’ve been carrying it around everyday, and after a month, I’ve decided that I LOVE this bag; it’s the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. It doesn’t make carrying around a laptop any less heavy, but it’s been pretty damn perfect so far for everything.
The other thing that’s changed about office life is that people just group chat with each other about everything all day long, even though the team sits in close proximity to one another. We have meetings when we need to brainstorm/ review/ discuss, otherwise all communication is basically in chat. One of the reasons is so that everything is archived and on record, but still! Texting the person next to you to see if they’re ready to go grab lunch? So weird, and yet 2 months later, so natural. What.
During meetings, the whiteboard is used for note taking, and then we all take photos of it on our phones to save the notes and share with one another. Technology is funny. It’s interesting to observe how it’s changed our behavior.
Speaking of lunch…I was never an out to lunch every day kind of person when I used to be an office worker bee. I’d either bring food from home or buy salad making ingredients for the week with my coworker and we’d make our own salads. It’s been kind of fun eating lunch out a few times a week since it’s something I never do, but now that’s it’s been 2 months of lunches, it’s getting expensive and some of the novelty has worn off. I’m also not used to eating such a huge meal in the middle of the day. I work with all guys (that’s a tech startup for you) and the ordered lunches are big and there are unlimited snacks in the kitchen and with all the sitting and snacking and eating all the day long…well, you get the picture. Makes me want to jog around the block a few times.
But the coffee! Ironically I was not a coffee drinker at all when I lived in the NW. It was working in an office 14 years ago that made me the coffee drinker I am now. Learning how to make an espresso or a cappuccino on a $13,000 La Marzocco machine (I googled the price. I had to) is all kinds of win. Getting the foam just right is challenging, but I’m working on it.
One thing that hasn’t changed? The AC. Offices are as cold as ever. No matter what outfit I’m wearing to the office, I’ve got a wool granny cardigan on. Makes that moment you first walk out of the building and into the heat of a summer day pure bliss.
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